(JTA) — Actor Charlie Sheen is demanding an apology from the Anti-Defamation League for saying that his rant against the executive producer of his hit TV sitcom was "borderline anti-Semitism."
A letter from Sheen’s attorney Marty Singer demands a retraction because, it says, Sheen’s only intention was to "address the man rather than his television persona," the TMZ website reported Tuesday.
Sheen, in a radio interview Feb. 24 and in a letter posted on the TMZ website, called the "Two and a Half Men" executive producer Chuck Lorre a "contaminated little maggot," said he was a "clown" and "stupid," and referred to him several times as Chaim Levine.
Lorre’s given name is Charles Michael Levine.
"By invoking television producer Chuck Lorre’s Jewish name in the context of an angry tirade against him, Charlie Sheen left the impression that another reason for his dislike of Mr. Lorre is his Jewishness," Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, said in a statement Sunday. "This fact has no relevance to Mr. Sheen’s complaint or disagreement, and his words are at best bizarre, and at worst, borderline anti-Semitism.”
Singer’s letter points out that Lorre referred to himself by the name Chaim on a vanity card in February, in which he also reportedly writes about "a lifetime of distancing himself from Judaism." The letter also says the ADL should denounce Lorre for acknowledging his "disdain for the Jewish religion."
Sheen went on the defensive over the weekend, saying his statements were not anti-Semitic. He said in his letter to TMZ that he was "referring to Chuck by his real name because I wanted to address the man, not the bulls**t TV persona."
"So you’re telling me, anytime someone calls me Carlos Estevez, I can claim they are anti-Latino?" Sheen continued, referring to his given name.
The CBS network on Feb. 25 canceled filming of the final four episodes of the popular sitcom starring Sheen and could cancel the show all together.